LGBT Rights

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th September 2018.

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Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

This Government have a strong track record of promoting and supporting LGBT rights across the United Kingdom, including equal marriage. I was proud to demonstrate this support by having the rainbow flag flown from Stormont House last month to mark Belfast Pride.

Photo of Ged Killen Ged Killen Labour/Co-operative, Rutherglen and Hamilton West

But flags are not enough. On everything from mental health to civil rights, LGBT people in Northern Ireland are worse off than those in the rest of the UK, but groups I met recently say they get no funding from the Assembly or from Westminster, and there was nothing in the Government’s LGBT action plan. Will the Secretary of State consider the creation of a discretionary fund to ensure these groups get the support they need, particularly while there is no functioning Assembly?

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

I will look at the hon. Gentleman’s point. I have met many groups representing LGBT interests in Northern Ireland, but many of these matters are devolved and they should quite rightly be resolved by the devolved Government in Stormont.

Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Fisheries, Flooding and Water)

One day I hope to marry my beautiful boyfriend, and I can do that because I live in England where civil partnerships and equal marriage are legal. When will couples like me and Sydney who live in Northern Ireland be able to set a date so they can marry?

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

We are all looking forward to the day, and I congratulate the hon. Gentleman. I voted for same-sex marriage to be legal in my own constituency, and I am very proud that I did that, but it is right that these matters are dealt with by the devolved Government. [Interruption.] That is why we need a devolved Government in Stormont—so that we can resolve these issues. [Interruption.]